BRIDGEVIEW, IL — A second lawsuit has been filed against a Bridgeview nursing home with a lengthy violation history where 34 cases and 16 deaths attributed to coronavirus have been reported since March, when the global pandemic first appeared in Illinois.
The family of Sally Urbaniak accuses the Bridgeview Health Care Center, 8100 S. Harlem Ave., Bridgeview, of violating the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act by failing to isolate the 76-year-old woman from other residents showing COVID-19 symptoms resulting in her death. The complaint further charges that the nursing home put profits ahead of health and safety, by failing to take preventative actions even when aware that some residents and employees were symptomatic and tested positive for COVID-19.
Before the pandemic hit Illinois, staff reported ratios of 20 or more patients per caregiver and that Bridgeview Health Care Center failed to stockpile personal protection equipment with the pandemic looming on the horizon. Although the Illinois Department of Public Health had ordered nursing homes be closed to visitors on March 13 and for facilities to begin implementing practices preventing the spread of coronavirus.
>>> Bridgeview Nursing Home Slapped With Coronavirus Death Lawsuit
Staff members reported ratios of 20 or more patients per caregiver. Some Bridgeview nursing home’s certified nursing assistants stated they were not equipped with proper personal protective equipment and were often forced to continue reusing PPE after it had become contaminated. Around March 7 when a resident began showing “classic symptoms” of COVID-19 the complaint alleges the patient was not isolated from the nursing home’s general population.
“Some of those CNAs have a resident with COVID-19. And then that CNA is now taking COVID-19 to another resident,” a CNA reported to the Service Employee International Union.
Nursing home administrator Martha Peck confirmed on March 26 that several residents had gone to the hospital and tested positive for COVID-19, the complaint said. On March 29, a 74-year-old man was the first resident from Bridgeview Health Care Center to die of coronavirus due pneumonia associated with COVID-19. Still, the complaint maintains, the facility failed to isolate patients with symptoms of the virus from the rest of the general population, including Sally Urbaniak.
Urbaniak reported to her care providers on March 27 that she didn’t feel well, and presented COVID-19 symptoms, including a dry and unproductive cough and shortness of breath. As her conditions worsened, Urbaniak was diagnosed with pneumonia. The nursing home’s medical staff began treating her illness with antibiotics, which has no effect on viruses, the complaint said,
As Sally’s conditions continued to worsen — extreme shortness of breath and low oxygen saturation — she was transferred April 10 to OSF-Little Company of Mary Medical Center. A few days later, on April 14, the complaint maintains Medicare and Medicaid inspectors conducted a COVID-19 focused inspection of the facility. The inspectors awarded a “one star” rating to Bridgeview Health Care Center, which “failed to follow practices to contain the spread of COVID-19 by proper use of personal protective equipment and proper handling of clean and soiled linen.”
On April 15, Sally Urbaniak died at Little Company of Mary. According to her family, the nursing home still hasn’t returned her personal belongings, including family heirlooms and jewelry, nor has Bridgeview Health Care Center bothered to return her family’s multiple phone calls and inquiries.
The lawsuit also details the Bridgeview long term care facility’s decades-long history of failing state health inspections for regulatory violations, such as failing to meet infection control standards by providing hand-washing and sanitizing equipment, including a scabies outbreak in March 2019, a year before the pandemic began to ravage Illinois nursing homes.
The family is demanding a jury trial and damages in excess of $50,000.